LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Makayla Epps scored the go-ahead basket with 8.7 seconds remaining in overtime and Evelyn Akhator had eight points in the extra session to give No. 22 Kentucky a 78-75 upset victory over No. 3 Mississippi State on Thursday night.
After Akhator's layup with 55 seconds left tied it 75, Epps grabbed Makenzie Cann's missed 3-pointer and moved in for the soft tip-in to put Kentucky ahead to stay in a tense game featuring nine ties and 15 lead changes -- with most coming after halftime. Maci Morris's free throw with 1.8 seconds left sealed the victory and the Wildcats' eighth straight 20-win season.
Akhator scored 22 points in the fourth quarter and OT to finish with 27 points. She also had 16 rebounds in her home finale. Epps had 22 points to help Kentucky (20-8, 11-4 Southeastern Conference) deny the Bulldogs' quest to clinch a share of their first SEC title.
Victoria Vivians had 27 points, and Morgan William added 20 for Mississippi State (27-2, 13-2). It had won seven straight.
THE BIG PICTURE
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs' struggles against Kentucky continued as they lost for the 11th straight time. They shot 48 percent but couldn't put away the Wildcats when they had the chance in OT.
Kentucky: A team focused on filling its roster after an exodus of players and assistant coaches last season earned the signature win it sought, and the Wildcats' seniors helped get the job done. Epps had 10 third-quarter points before Akhator got hot in the fourth and OT. Taylor Murray added 14 points.
Mississippi State's Top 5 standing might take a hit. Kentucky meanwhile looks to move up with another win Sunday at No. 7 South Carolina.
Mississippi State: Hosts Tennessee on Sunday in season finale, seeking a season sweep of the Lady Vols.
Kentucky: Visits No. 7 South Carolina in Sunday's season finale, looking to avenge a 75-63 loss here Feb. 2.